Book 4, Chapter 113

A Painful Struggle(2)

The day would have come sooner or later, you might as well get the eight rune sets for it. Alice didn’t notice the blood trickling down her lips as she continued to read the letter, “These eight are more valuable than twenty normal grade 2 rune knights, don’t make the wrong choice.”

She nodded profusely, “Do not be afraid, I will be with you that night. You can watch and learn from me so you don’t have to be afraid.”

Having read that, the crimson-haired goddess of war covered her face with the letter. She knew very well that Fuschia was just as frightened as herself.

Early morning the next day, a rough knock sounded at the door. Not getting a response for a long time, the bearded man on the other end sensed a faint aura within and pushed the unlocked door and entered.

The man relaxed as he found the earl snoring softly on her desk, but the sight of twelve empty bottles of brandy and the strong stench of alcohol permeating the room felt like a dagger thrust into his heart. All of the documents had been swept to the floor, leaving only a single small chest with a piece of paper stuck on it.

This scar-ridden man was General Tiden, and he knew exactly what lied in the chest on Alice’s desk. It represented something he— like any other general in Norland— longed for with all his heart: multiple powerful rune knights under his command.

The piece of paper was a note written in Alice’s handwriting, “A mix of Savage Barrier and Savage Strike sets, seven in total.”

Tiden’s beard started to tremble. These were the same designs that were being integrated into the royal army’s standard rune knight equipment! As he lifted the enchanted chest, it felt like a burning volcano in his hands. He had watched Alice grow up from when she was only a little girl, and this was the worst state he had ever seen her in; he understood that these rune sets could only come at a huge cost.

Tiden didn’t know what to say. He had been a warrior all his life, and all he knew was to kill the enemy. He didn’t understand politics, he didn’t understand deals; he didn’t understand how to console someone. All he could do was take the chest and go out, silently closing the door behind him before walking away in huge strides.

Moments later, a bestial trombone roared into the distance.

……

Richard was sitting on the ground with several empty liquor bottles in front of him. He was on top of a small hill near Bluewater Oasis; the sight wasn’t particularly pretty, but it looked over all of Bluewater CIty.

Atop this once-bare hill lay a crude tombstone, a rough tablet that had been carved with a brief epitaph: Here lies the Direwolf Duke Bevry, a true brother in war. He shall lay here as he witnesses the beginning of a new dynasty, the dynasty of Richard Archeron.

As the Direwolf Family worshipped their ancestors, Bevry’s body had been buried in their ancestral tomb. In this grave were the armour and weapons he had left behind, much corroded beyond repair under the terrifying power of Raymond’s subordinate.

Light footsteps sounded as an old man with white hair staggered over and sat down next to him. A noticeable sadness could be seen in his young eyes.

“You were looking for me?” the old man asked calmly.

“Come, drink a little!” Richard passed a bottle of liquor to him, and the man took the liquor and forced half the liquid in the bottle down his throat with one large swig. However, he started coughing immediately and curled up on the ground, the glass bottle broken as he almost coughed his lungs out.

Neither of the two realised exactly when the coughs had trailed off into weeping, but Perrin’s body shook with every low grunt. Richard didn’t try to comfort the grieving man, only leaning against the tombstone as he continued to sip his liquor. It didn’t seem like he was drinking fast, but the sheer number of empty bottles around him showed just how much he had already finished.

“Perrin… What are you going to do? Do you plan to continue on the path you had originally charted out, or do you want to advance in the world of magic? I can groom you into a grand mage of Faelor.”

Perrin only took a moment to respond, “I’m still interested in planar geometry.”

“Why?”

“There are many grand mages on Faelor, I won’t make any difference. However, this research will be a milestone in the entire plane. Even if I only finish the basics of the foundation, it will be of great benefit.”

Richard sighed softly, “Perrin, you only have four years left to live. I will keep you alive until then, but if you become a grand mage you can extend your lifespan even afterwards.”

“It’s fine, I never expected to live so long. As long as my research finishes the preliminary framework, those after me can continue. I believe Faelor can become just like the place you come from, a plane transcending others!”

Richard shook his head at the solemn declaration, stopping himself from saying the first words that came to mind, “... Alright. Do you have any plans as to where you want to continue your research?”

Perrin hesitated. His old cave in Deeprock Castle had been compromised since the Direwolf Duke’s death, the entire dukedom caught up in turmoil.

“Stay here. Runai’s power does not reach this place.” Bluewater Oasis was now technically under the control of the three goddesses. Without the permission of at least two, those serving Runai would not be able to enter.

“… Okay.” Perrin knew he had nowhere else to go. He thought about things for some time before suddenly asking, “Richard, is planar geometry prevalent where you come from?”

Richard’s expression turned to one of helplessness as he sighed. As someone of the Deepblue, he knew just how advanced planar geometry was in Norland. The subject had been researched for thousands of years, with more than ten different branches to specialise in. It was the development of planar geometry that had supported Norland’s planar wars, affixing passageways to many lesser planes that spelt their demise.

Perrin’s few broken theories, as they were now, were less useful than the basics an acolyte in Norland learnt when first starting out in the subject.

However, neither Perrin himself nor Faelor had any time left. If they could have remained unseen for a few hundred more years, a legendary mage would have developed these theories to a level where the first extraplanar expedition would set out. That first person would certainly become a martyr, likely dying in the void, but as the theories were perfected someone would eventually manage to leave the plane and return. Over the next millennium, great visionaries with legendary might would slowly complete Faelor’s transition to a primary plane.

However, Richard was already here. The plane had already been marked by the Eternal Dragon, its location recorded down in the Church. An alliance led by only one of fourteen families that made up the weakest of Norland’s human empires had decimated two of Faelor’s most powerful kingdoms and defeated multiple other dukedoms. Their worst losses had been when they were caught unprepared at the portal, and even so it had taken another from Norland to finish them off.

Perrin’s dream was destined to never materialise. Faelor would become just another secondary plane controlled by those of Norland, specifically Richard himself. Unlike other invaders, Richard and his army of drones had already blended in and were taking over the plane from within.

Still, seeing this youth’s determination, Richard decided not to tell him the truth. Perrin could spend the rest of his years in his research, ignorance was bliss. “What do you think of Toffler?”  Richard changed the subject.

Perrin thought over the question for a while, “Ah, my third brother. I haven’t interacted with him much, but from what I can remember he’s a good man. If he takes over the Dukedom, our subjects will lead good lives. Perhaps he can even improve the land’s situation from what my father left behind… Father fought too many wars, and wars cost a lot of gold.

“My only concern is that his mother is from a weak family. He hasn’t had the time to grow into his own power, so even though he is Father’s inheritor I don’t believe he will last long in that position.”

Richard laughed softly, breath reeking of alcohol, “Bevry is an old friend, I’m going to fulfil his last wish. Don’t worry, if I proclaim him to be the Duke that’s what he will be.

“Alright, I’ll be off!” he burped and struggled to his feet, ambling down the hill as he made his way towards the oasis city.

Perrin did not leave with him, instead staying before his father’s grave while downing another bottle of liquor. However, as his gaze passed the place where Richard had been seated, his eyes suddenly opened wide in shock.

Nearly half of his life had been spent immersed in planar geometry, so he immediately recognised the formulae on the ground. It felt as though a flash of lightning had pierced the darkness of his mind, illuminating an entire world of new possibilities. His heart started beating faster and faster, but his body instead chilled.

Perrin’s ideas had left a bitter taste in Richard’s mouth. Thinking of the youth’s few broken theories, he had drawn what would result once those theories were perfected. The formulae looked extremely complicated and difficult to understand, but they were the first lesson an apprentice studying planar geometry in the Deepblue would learn.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter

OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Styles

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA